New Delhi, Apr 12 (PTI) Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today said the country cannot continue to treat its women the way it does and that he will hold a candlelight vigil at India Gate at midnight to protest the Kathua and Unnao rape cases.

Delhi Congress workers will join Gandhi in the protest.

“Like millions of Indians my heart hurts tonight. India simply cannot continue to treat its women the way it does.

“Join me in a silent, peaceful, candlelight vigil at India Gate at midnight tonight to protest this violence and demand justice,” he tweeted.

Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said a candlelight march will be taken out at 12 am from the DPCC office to India Gate.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi expressed anguish and shock on the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, and attacked the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh for failing to act against its MLA, who is an accused in the Unnao rape case.

“How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil? What happened at #Kathua is a crime against humanity. It cannot go unpunished. What have we become if we allow politics to interfere with such unimaginable brutality perpetrated on an innocent child?” he tweeted.

The minor, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, had disappeared from a spot near her house close to Rasana village in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the same area.

A Special Investigation Team, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destroying evidence.

Jammu has been on tenterhooks since the brutal rape and murder. The city’s bar association has opposed the action against the accused and alleged that minority Dogras were being targeted.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.